Research on queer media has primarily been conducted through the prism of textual analysis, particularly when considering TV and cinema. Queer production studies have, however, started to open up the field to the importance of distribution and industrial practices when it comes to the queer meaning of a media text, thanks to Bryan Wuest (2018) and Candace Moore (2013) amongst others. As a relatively recent yet widely disseminated mode of consumption for film and TV products, streaming platforms serve as a useful field for research concerning the role of distribution and consumption in the formation and development processes of queer identities. MUBI then emerges as a particularly interesting and important case study due to its global scope of reach and growing popularity amongst the general public (Grater, 2018; Mitchell, 2017). The research thus straddles media industry studies and queer theory by focusing on the importance of niche streaming platforms in the construction of a queer identity amongst university students. In turn, it aims to underscore the space of queerness within streaming services. This thesis tries to answer the following research question: How is MUBI engaging with queer content and how does this engagement come into play in processes of identity formation within their queer university students subscribers? After exposing the presence of queerness on MUBI’s interface, the analysis engages directly with the impact of MUBI usage on queer university students’ identity formation by conducting 10 in-depth semi-structured interviews. First, the research points to MUBI’s particular position within the field of streaming according to the queer community due to its opposition to the mainstream, its proximity to minority communities and unique cinema, and the trust it has created between its curation model and its pool of subscribers. Secondly, the key ways in which participants have experienced identity formation when using MUBI are highlighted, starting with the heightened visibility of diverse queer experiences; then, through the broadening of horizons from a cultural and/or social point of view; and finally by helping further processes of self-validation of one’s identity. To conclude, limitations to the identity formation process on MUBI are raised, in part due to a significant lack of engagement with the interactive features mentioned earlier, and in other parts to the inherent differences within the community that alter the ways in which media products are understood. Ultimately, the thesis furthers our understanding of identity formation among queer university students and helps pinpoint media consumption and resulting reception as key moments during which identities are formed, moments thus moulded by the distributor’s reputation and/or brand identity.

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Dr Alexandre Diallo
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Agathe Prallet. (2022, June 27). Queering the stage: MUBI and the impact of streaming on the framing of queer identities for university students. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from